Madden Collections Showcased at Museum of Outdoor Art
In 2016, real estate developer and international art collector John W. Madden, Jr. donated 120 paintings, sculptures, prints and other artworks to the University of Denver. The collection included works by Robert Rauschenberg, a renowned American artist whose mid-twentieth-century work merges conventional and unconventional materials.
“John Madden and his late wife Marjorie were friends with Robert Rauschenberg; they were neighbors in Captiva Island, Florida. The Maddens would spend their winters in Florida, as John Madden still does today,” explains Nicole Parks, program director of DU’s Madden collection.
“John Madden met ‘Bob’ (as he calls him) during a walk in the neighborhood and struck up a conversation. John Madden collected works by artists he admired and wanted to support.”
DU’s Madden collection now holds ten Rauschenberg pieces, eight of which are part of a current exhibition at the Museum of Outdoor Art (MOA). "Rauschenberg: Reflections and Ruminations" highlights more than 50 original pieces by the artist and is the largest solo exhibit of Rauschenberg’s work ever presented in Colorado. DU is a major lender to the show.
“It's great to have the opportunity to support local art institutions, in particular the MOA which was founded by John Madden and his daughter Cynthia Madden Leitner, who is executive director. We hope this is just one of many future projects that we can assist with — a collaborative venture with MOA.”
The feature artwork on the cover of the exhibition catalog and on MOA’s website is "Pegasits," a piece from the Madden Collection at DU. "Pegasits" brings together painted brushwork, screen-printing, a mirrored surface and a silver-leafed chair mounted to the mirror.
Other works DU is lending include "Borealis Shares," a large bench-like sculpture made from brass, plexiglass and screen-printed images, as well as six prints from "Ruminations," a series that features people and events from Rauschenberg’s early life.
The show is curated by Dan Jacobs, former director of DU’s Vicki Myhren Gallery and curator of the University Art Collections, and Sarah Magnatta, PhD, independent curator and visiting teaching assistant professor at DU. Additionally, Sarah Martin, a recent graduate from DU’s School of Art and Art History, was hired to condition report the incoming Rauschenberg artworks at MOA, a process that involves meticulous documentation to insure safekeeping of these priceless art pieces.
Though "Rauschenberg: Reflections and Ruminations" was originally set to run from February 24 to June 13, 2020, at MOA’s Indoor Galleries, the show has been extended due to a temporary closure stemming from concerns surrounding COVID-19. Now, the exhibition will run from June 1 to March 20, 2021, with added social-distancing guidelines.
“It's exciting to be a major lender to this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of Rauschenberg,” says Parks.